WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today advanced six bipartisan bills, five of which aim to improve patient care and reduce health care fraud, while one will modernize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
“We have a great opportunity to improve patient care, reduce health care fraud, and modernize the DOE’s long-term energy security mission,” said Chairman Walden. “With today’s unanimous voice votes, I look forward to advancing these policies to the full House of Representatives for consideration.”
The full committee advanced the following bills:
H.R. 3891, to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to clarify the authority of State Medicaid fraud and abuse control units to investigate and prosecute cases of Medicaid patient abuse and neglect in any setting, and for other purposes, authored by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), passed the full committee by voice vote.
- H.R. 3891 will clarify the authority of State Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Units (MFCUs). This clarification will give these important units the authority to investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries in non-institutional settings as well as broaden the permissible use of federal MFCU funds to screen complaints or reports alleging potential abuse or neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries.
H.R. 5306, the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources (EMPOWER) and Care Act, authored by #SubHealth Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), passed the full committee, as amended, by voice vote.
- H.R. 5306 will extend the Money Follows the Person Demonstration (MFP) program in Medicaid for an additional year. The MFP program provides resources to state Medicaid programs to help transition individuals with chronic conditions and disabilities from institutions back into local communities.
H.R. 3325, the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act, authored by Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), passed the full committee, as amended, by voice vote.
- H.R. 3325 will improve the delivery of care for children with complex medical conditions who receive care under Medicaid, by providing enhanced federal matching for a limited period of time for care coordination services. The bill builds upon the “health home” model that has been successful for helping state Medicaid programs improve care for populations under current law.
H.R. 6733, to amend title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act and title XVIII of the Social Security Act to prohibit group health plans, health insurance issuers, prescription drug plan sponsors, and Medicare Advantage organizations from limiting certain information on drug prices, authored by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), #SubOversight Vice Chairman Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), #SubHealth Chairman Burgess, and #SubHealth Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX), passed the full committee by voice vote.
- Today, some health insurance contracts prevent pharmacists from informing patients when the cash price for their prescription costs less than their insurance cost-sharing arrangement unless the individual directly asks. As a result, customers may be paying more for their prescriptions. This language bans group health plans offered by employers and individual health insurance plans – as well as Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Plans – from restricting a pharmacy’s ability to inform a customer about the lower cost, out-of-pocket price for their prescription.
H.R. 6753, to amend title XI of the Social Security Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a public-private partnership for purposes of identifying health care waste, fraud, and abuse, authored by Chairman Walden and Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), passed the full committee, as amended, by voice vote.
- Currently operated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership (HFPP) is a voluntary public-private partnership between the federal government, state agencies, law enforcement, private health insurance plans, and health care anti-fraud associations. The HFPP operates to detect and prevent health care fraud through public-private information sharing, streamlining analytical tools and data, and providing a forum for government and industry experts to exchange successful anti-fraud practices. The bill establishes explicit authority for HFPP and its activities, better equipping them to define the rules and responsibilities of its members and expand the scope of allowable activities to address more in the spectrum of fraud and abuse in our health care system.
H.R. 6511, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Reform Act, authored by committee Vice Chairman Barton and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), passed the full committee, as amended, by voice vote.
- This bill seeks to preserve and upgrade the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) infrastructure by requiring the Secretary of Energy to carry out a pilot program to lease underutilized SPR capacity that will become available under current, mandated drawdowns.
Electronic copies of the legislation, amendment text, and vote tallies can be found on the committee’s website HERE.